I used to be the dependable one, to a fault, when it came to remembering dates – birthdays, anniversaries, you name it. This was before Facebook took over our lives and started reminding us of everything so we didn’t have to remember ourselves.
When I first got sick, to keep up the veil of normalcy, I was so on top of everything. Cards were bought, gifts were packaged up. And they always got to their destination on time…or early. I prided myself in this.
For some people, holiday shopping starts around Thanksgiving. For me, it starts in the summer. I’m serious. I’m scoping out what I want to get for whom, and making a strategic plan of how to get it all done. And get it done far in advance of the December deadline, so I didn’t have to deal with long lines at the post office or UPS store.
Lately, though, even with my planning, I feel super rushed, like I may as well have forgotten everything altogether. It feels like it gets down to the wire. Things still make it where they’re going on time, so in that respect, I still appear to be very on top of things.
So here is a bit of advice from me to you:
1. Do things in advance.
As I said, I start my holiday questing in the summer.
This year, specifically, my sister is a senior in high school this year and had her senior pictures taken over the summer. As a hobby, I scrapbook, so I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to make many of the gifts I will be giving this year.
So many people are doing this lately, and some do it on a very amateurish level. But it’s the thought that counts, right? Everybody makes homemade gifts. Not just chronically ill people. But it’s a great idea for us if it isn’t something that really wears on your hands or any other parts of your body impacted by arthritis or other conditions. This allows you to prepare things in the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to go to the mall and battle crowds, and tire yourself out in the process. You can do this on your own time, at your own pace.
2. Add extra touches that will make recipients of gifts feel special.
For my scrapbook gifts, I had cute little stickers made that say I made the gift. It’s nothing to put a sticker on, and it really adds a personal touch. It makes it seem like I’ve given thought to things. Last year, I also made some care packages with some of my favorite things from stores I knew the people I was gifting didn’t have access to.
3. Do what you can, but don’t over do it.
I know that the special people in my life would feel bad if I worked myself to the bone to buy or make gifts if I wasn’t feeling up to it. That’s why I start so early, and do things when I can. This isn’t the perfect solution because I live in a small apartment and am hurting for space (in general, let alone to stash gifts), but it is the one thing that makes my life so much easier.
Even if you can’t make gifts yourself, there are so many websites now that offer personalization or a personal touch. A few of my favorites are Things Remembered, Etsy, and Expressionery.* Shopping online is also a great way to get gift shopping accomplished from the comfort of your own home. You can even send gifts directly to the recipient this way.
I’ll admit, I have cut my card and gift list down over the past few years. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was necessary.
As I prepare to spend 10 days at my parents, celebrating Thanksgiving and escaping the crush of dissertation prospectus writing and incredibly needy students, I am thankful for all of the things I have been able to accomplish when I’ve been feeling good over the last few months. It will certainly make the holiday rush a little bit easier for me.
* These suggestions are simply my opinion and I have not received any type of compensation for mentioning the names of these companies.
Published On: November 21, 2011